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Win over London Welsh helps UCSOB move forward in relegation battle

PUBLISHED: 13:50 13 February 2017 | UPDATED: 13:50 13 February 2017

Ahmad Ghanem surges forward for UCSOB against London Welsh Druids. Picture: NICK COOK

Ahmad Ghanem surges forward for UCSOB against London Welsh Druids. Picture: NICK COOK

Archant

UCSOB’s battle to avoid the drop from Herts Middlesex One took another step forward – with a 28-15 victory at London Welsh Druids.

UCSOB's Thom Arnold steps his man. Picture: NICK COOKUCSOB's Thom Arnold steps his man. Picture: NICK COOK

It was the third win in four games for the West Hampstead-based rugby club and while it keeps them in 10th, one place above the relegation spot, they have moved to within three points of Old Actonians and Hendon above them.

This victory was all the more impressive considering that the Welsh lie fifth in the division.

After a good warm-up UCS came out the blocks firing all cylinders.

Their passion and aggression in attack was mirrored by their great line-speed and pressure in defence.

Nathaniel Breakwell gets UCSOB's first try against London Welsh Druids. Picture: NICK COOKNathaniel Breakwell gets UCSOB's first try against London Welsh Druids. Picture: NICK COOK

They opened the scoring thanks to a move started and finished by Nicholas Breakwell.

He took the ball on the blind side and set Henry Day away on the wing. It then came back inside to Dan Stewart who popped it back to Breakwell to score.

An offside penalty allowed London Welsh to kick their first points of the game but UCS were soon back on their opposition five-metre line again.

A series of scrums followed but UCS could not convert this pressure into points and soon London Welsh’s big forward ball runners got over the gain-line and sucked in the defence.

UCSOB picked up a huge win against London Welsh Druids. Picture: NICK COOKUCSOB picked up a huge win against London Welsh Druids. Picture: NICK COOK

This was the case on 30 minutes when the hosts took the lead with a flowing move across the backs.

Not long after the restart the Druids scored a converted try after a charge from their no.8 saw the ball recycled quickly out to the centre to finish.

At 15-5 it looked like UCS could be letting the game slip away from them.

But a penalty for hands in the ruck was knocked over by Stewart and he then brought UCS to within four points with another successful kick.

Replacement prop Rob Koentopp began to impact the game and two strong carries set up a position in the London Welsh 22 which brought about another three points.

Koentopp then topped off a great debut with a storming carry touching down under the posts.

Stewart’s conversion gave them a 21-15 lead.

Rather than just trying to hold-on to their slender lead, UCS continued to put coordinated phases of play together and soon found themselves parked on the five-metre line again.

And from there George Sewell defied prop stereotypes when a serve of the hips allowed him to wriggle past onrushing defenders in the midfield before powering over the line for the try.

Another conversion from Stewart ended the scoring.

No four-try bonus point but a great away win for UCS who have now won their last 3 league matches. Celebrations at full-time showed how important this game was for the UCS season and the team will hope to continue this positive momentum into their final fixtures.

Next up is promotion-chasing London French at the University College Sports Ground on Saturday.

Starting XV: Ghanem, Sewell, Henk C, Ovens, Pope, Warner, Jones, Zabci, Coates, Stewart, Day, Bromley, Arnold, Jacobs, Breakwell

Replacements: Bahl, Koentopp, Boulden

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